The iconic portrait of U.S. President George Washington on United States quarters has become an unwavering symbol of our nation’s strength, resolve and economic might since its introduction in 1932.
Through all the major changes the quarter has gone through — first transitioning from being made of a 90% precious metal alloy to a comparatively worthless cupronickel-coated copper coin in 1965, then a replacement of the eagle on the reverse for a series of new designs including states, parks, and national landmarks — the image of Washington on the coin’s obverse has remained virtually unchanged.
Now, the unforgettable design of our first president is being tossed out of the window for something entirely new in 2022, a revision that seemingly has the founding father turning his back on our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
According to the United States Mint, the major redesign is thanks to the American Women Quarters program, authorized by Congress’ Circulating Collectable Coin Redesign Act of 2020.
The most notable change on the coins is the removal of the old depiction of Washington.
In its place is an alternate design proposed by Laura Gardin Fraser for the quarter in 1932, where a noticeably blockier Washington faces right instead of left.
Fraser’s design is not completely new to American coinage; her right-facing Washington graced a 1999 gold commemorative coin issued by the U.S. Mint.
As many have noticed with the new portrait, the reversal of direction also appears to have George Washington literally turning his back on the “In God We Trust” his portrait normally faces:
When comparing the old quarter design to the new, it seems clear that Washington was re-positioned with his back to the God-referencing motto.
Whether that has any symbolic meaning to the designers of the new version is anyone’s guess. However, it should be noted that some quarters in circulation have the words at Washington’s back already.
On the 2018-minted Voyageurs National Park quarter, Washington is facing the same direction while “In God We Trust” was simply moved to the coin’s other side. Nor is this the only exception to the classic design.
Several others, like 2010’s Hot Springs National Park quarter, also have the words at Washington’s back.
Along with the new obverse design of the nation’s first president, the quarters will also feature designs on the back intended to honor famous American women.
The program lists several famous and not-so-famous females for the 2022 quarters, including Maya Angelou, Sally Ride, Anna May Wong and Wilma Mankiller.
Regular quarters will apparently continue to be minted alongside the new designs, which will enter circulation but are also targeted toward collectors.
Next year, designs for five more women are already being planned. The program is expected to run through 2025, with a slate of new female-only honorees for the back of the coin each year.
It remains to be seen if a woke activist will try to shoehorn in a biological male transgender as a “brave” woman tailor-made for this program. [We wouldn’t bet against it. — Ed. note]
While there is no clear indication that Washington’s turn from our national motto was an intentional part of the design, it’s clear that the days of a simple, singular quarter design are long gone.
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